Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Move quickly: Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi wide open for points from Feb-May 2022

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The secret of maximising the value of hotel loyalty points is to redeem them in ludicrously expensive places, where even the maximum possible price that the loyalty scheme can charge looks like a bargain.

I doubt there is a better place to find examples of this than The Maldives.

For many years, the Conrad Rangali resort, part of Hilton Honors, was the de facto ‘best bang for your buck’.  One of our readers wrote a long review on Conrad Rangali for us which you can find here.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives

The days of Conrad Rangali holding the crown for ‘best Hilton redemption’  are over, however. 

Meet Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

A new Waldorf Astoria resort opened in mid 2019 – see the website here: Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi.  A picture of one of the very modern bungalows is above.

As well as being brand new, this property has one advantage over Conrad Rangali – it is accessible by yacht from the airport in Male, meaning that you don’t need to take a seaplane.  This is an astonishingly expensive boat ride, however, at $650 plus 23% tax per person return for the 30-minute trip. Children are half price if 6-11 and free if 0-5. The price includes airport ‘meet and greet’ and champagne etc on the yacht itself. No privately chartered transfers are allowed to land at the resort.

A huge amount of reward availability has dropped today, covering February to May 2022.

Take a look at an example here (click to enlarge):

The standard redemption price is 120,000 or 150,000 Hilton Honors points per night – it varies.This is not a Premium Redemption.  It is clearly marked as a ‘Standard Room Redemption’ and is Hilton’s priciest reward property.  Of course, in this case a ‘Standard Room’ is a 2,500 sq ft beach bungalow with a private pool.

This is exceptionally good value.

Hilton offers ‘5 nights for the points of 4’ to anyone with Hilton Honors status.  Be clear: you need Hilton status to get ‘5 for 4’, a basic Blue member will not get this pricing.

A five night stay in a Two Bed Reef Villa With Pool will cost you, based on the dates above:

  • $10,711 included taxes (cancellable with 3 days notice) or
  • 480,000 Hilton Honors points (if you pick five days at the 120,000 point level)

To save you doing the maths, you are getting 1.57p per Hilton point.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives

My standard Hilton Honors points valuation is 0.33p.  You are getting almost FIVE TIMES my ‘normal’ value here.

You can BUY Hilton Honors points for 0.35p each in a new 100% ‘buy points’ offer which launched today.  The annual cap, including the 100% bonus, is 320,000 points per person.  What I don’t know is how quickly they will post – it is usually very quick but you can never be sure.

There are restrictions on new Hilton Honors accounts buying points, so you can’t open one purely to do this.

Assuming that you and your partner buy 480,000 points between you via the 100% bonus offer, and use the relatively new Hilton ‘points pooling’ scheme which we discussed here to merge them, you would pay $2,400.

480,000 points costing $2,400 would get you $10,711-worth of stay at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, assuming that the person booking has Hilton status and can get ‘5 nights for 4’.

As well as buying points, you can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors at 1:2, or Virgin Flying Club miles at 2:3.  Do NOT transfer Virgin Points as they can take literally weeks to arrive.  American Express transfers should take 2-3 days, which is a bit risky but may be OK if you are flexible on dates.  Remember that you’d need a block of five dates which were all at 120,000 points, with no 150,000 nights among them, if you only had 480,000 Hilton Honors points.

The resort website is here if you want to learn more.  The current ‘buy points’ offer is here.

PS. Due to a website glitch, you will be told that a cash deposit will be charged to your credit card immediately if you make a points booking. This does not happen and only applies to cash bookings.

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (August 2022)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (52)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • KZ says:

    It appears that up to 4 people can stay in the redemption rooms… here is the question; is breakfast included for all 4 if 1 or 2 of those staying are HH Gold/Diamond? The normal rate seems to include breakfast for all, but of course may be different with the redemption rate.

    • Voldemort says:

      It’s going to cost you $2400USD++ for the boat to the island, don’t skimp out on breakfast old boy.

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    I sometimes wonder if there are Maldives resorts whose core business plans is to relieve slightly gullible points earners of their cash via F&B and yacht/plane prices that have long since detached from any sort of reality, while thinking they’re getting a “free” holiday on points.

    • Babyg says:

      exactly this….

    • Char Char says:

      Well this compulsory £500 per person transfer makes me believe so!

      • Dubious says:

        Is it possible to make one’s own transfer arrangements, e.g. hire a local boat operator to pack an inflatable kayak?

    • mr_jetlag says:

      the old BA “taxes and charges” wheeze…

    • James Pleasant says:

      There are obvs quite a lot of people happy to spend that sort of money & I’m 100% sure they enjoy their holiday & think it was worth it. Well done, them. No problem.

      They may not be ‘like us’. Nor like you. I can think of 100 different locations where I’d have a similar luxury experience & get better value for money (in my mind, not theirs, of course).

      It all depends on what you like best, of course. Plus what you have experienced in your life colours it a lot. Been there, done that, I prefer my own idea of a luxury holiday sorta thing.

    • Mr. AC says:

      That would make sense, except that I know people (not that rich!) who paid cash prices for this sort of thing since it’s a “once in a life time” type of a vacation.

      • Rob says:

        Except its not. You can stay at the Holiday Inn Resort, which we’ve reviewed, for very little money and economy flights are probably manageable.

        • Alex W says:

          I couldn’t recall this review and had to search for it. Then I remembered, the article had zero useful information in it to determine whether it’s a good redemption or not!

    • Tracey says:

      So true. Pick a Maldives hotel that isn’t part of a chain and you will get equally good accommodation. Going AI in the Maldives is nothing like AI in Europe. When you are effectively marooned on an island, with no option to eat elsewhere it makes no sense to go B&B or room only.

  • Aston100 says:

    Not necessarily Hilton or Maldives, but what is considered a good bang for buck resort like this (white sand, overwater villas etc), taking into account cost of f&b and transfers.

    • YC says:

      Overwater tends to be maldives, bora bora type of place. But best value luxury beach resorts will probably be SEA (try Malaysia)

    • mr_jetlag says:

      If you can live without overwater villas plenty of resorts at under $1k per night including F&B and transfers. As a family of 4 we recently went to Kurumba and did 6 nights for $7k half board in a garden villa with pool. You can also go nuts in Reethi Ra or WA for $3k+ per night but swim in the same sea and see the same dolphins / reef sharks etc. Although the big chains get a lot of love here I think the Maldives has a lot of hidden gems with much better value.

      Away from there you can get as good or better in the Philippines (Aman pulo / El Nido), Thailand or Seychelles.

      • Anna says:

        In 1999 we paid £800 each for a fortnight AI on Kuredu island! Fairly limited F & B though.

      • meta says:

        There is also Rosewood Mayakoba Mexico, Constance Mauritius, some Fiji resorts come to mind, Song Saa Cambodia,… Sandals resorts in the Caribbean have also started doing overwater bungalows.

  • Nordic_Moose says:

    Is this still live? Can only see Premium room rewards available now.

  • Eugene says:

    I’m only seeing premium room rates for all of Feb to May. 1.29 million points a night hmm. Is there a certain villa rate that works?

  • trader363 says:

    All sold out (you can click shop by price and search for just one night and it’ll show you a calendar view of the room rate for each night).

    It’s only available if you are willing to stay for less than 4 nights . . . which isn’t worth it imo

    • Babyg says:

      i dont think it sold out, i think they accidentally over-listed the availalbity @120k/150k for most of 2022… which they have now fixed.. e.g. i am seeing the same rooms now just priced at 1million etc… wardorf are infamous for repricing

  • Patrick Cold says:

    Things moving quickly. The room I booked for 5 nights in February for 480,000 points at lunchtime is now 4,500,000!

  • Rike says:

    Booked 2 rooms at 2pm today for 7 days each in April 2022. 810,000 points each room. One for my family and one for friend’s. Also managed to find 3 biz tickets with QR all booked via avios, 600k avios & £1600 taxes (2 adults 1 kid). This is the 3rd time I booked into WA Maldive using points & miles. The previous 2 have been scrapped by Covid. Hope I can make it this time.

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